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Government and Gun Control

Guns have been a controversial topic since the founding of the United States. Our forefathers decided that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. From the very beginning our government has controlled a citizen’s rights in regards to firearms. In 1999, citizens are being limited just as our ancestors were only the government has taken the responsibility away from the individual and placed it on the manufacturer of the firearms.

Media coverage and firearm-related deaths have caused the government to intervene on the manufacturing and banning of firearms. In order to discuss firearms we must understand its definition. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a firearm is “a weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder- usually used of small arms”. The Oxford Dictionary simply states that a firearm is ” a rifle, pistol, or other portable gun”. These definitions are vague and somewhat confusing to those who are not very knowledgeable in the firearm subject. Many reporters and anti-firearm organizations also include assault weapons and semi automatic weapons.

So I will go ahead and speak of firearms to include all guns and rifles. Anti-firearm groups have been around since the Constitution was written. These organizations believe that gun ownership should be limited and very strict. Their quest is to reduce violence, ensure that the government enact national regulations, ban all types of assault weapons, and restrict the number of guns individuals can buy during a specified time (Carter, 47). The banning of assault weapons is thought to reduce violent crimes. And therefore, anti-firearm organizations feel that private citizens should not be allowed to own them.

Gun restriction has been aided by Brady Handgun Prevention Act, which requires a waiting period of 5 days for a handgun. This waiting period allows local law officials to conduct criminal record checks on prospective gun buyers. However, waiting periods do not stop felons from obtaining guns illegally. Ninety-three percent of career criminals get their guns from sources other than gun stores, mostly by theft or black market deals (online). One bill that Congress is trying to pass places a restriction on the manufacturing, transferring and possession of certain semi-automatic assault weapons.

These weapons include the Beretta Ar70 and the Colt AR-15. The proposition is known as the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the pro gun activists that believe people should have the right to go and buy a gun or firearm if he/she feels the need to protect themselves. Of course, there are many reasons why a person would own a gun. For example, recreational shooting is one hobby that many people enjoy. Another reason some citizens might feel the need to own a firearm is that they do not live in a safe, environment, so they do what they can to protect themselves.

Now if the manufacturing of certain firearms is banned, then hunting sports and personal safety are threatened. Pro gun activists also feel that law-abiding citizens should not have such rigid laws forced upon them. As I stated earlier, convicted felons who have access to firearms through an underground market commit most crimes. They do not follow the laws of the states or the country. In 1976, Washington, D. C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns. By 1991, D. C. ‘s homicide rate had tripled, while the U. S. rate rose 12%. New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and D. C. — with very restrictive gun laws — make up only 5% of the U. S. population, yet account for 16% of U. S. murders (Kleck, 225) Now there has been room left for misinterpretation.

Most pro-gun activists do believe in some form of gun control. However, they feel that the laws that are being established are not resolving the current problems. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation try to help Congress pass legislation that is equal and just to the private citizens as well as the general public. They are also firm believers of tough laws, but they want to make sure that these laws will make sense and are applicable.

The United States government is trying to have an impact on violence. Members of government feel that by going straight to the manufacturers of the firearms private citizens would not have to be burdened by the temptation to purchase firearms. In order to go about banning certain assault weapons drastic and fast action must be taken. If the government passes the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, gun owners of certain firearms must have their guns checked before a certain date (online). This is the exception to the law, but it is still a restriction.

While most government officials believe that getting rid of firearms completely will reduce crime and eliminate firearm fatalities they are wrong. Statistics show that there are more fatalities due to automobile accidents than by firearms. Banning the manufacturing of firearms is not going to stop criminals from using firearms. Instead, these laws are only going to hinder the citizens that follow them. So the end result will be the same violence by criminals. However, there will be something added, angry law abiders who do not deserve nor think that these laws are just. It all began when the United States became an independent state.

Regulations, laws, and restrictions were placed to ensure that citizens did not undergo monarchist persecution. However, it seems that as the country gets older the reigns are tightened. And while government officials believe that certain laws are needed to further develop the United States, the free citizens of the country are losing their freedom. The banning of manufacturing firearms does not solve the problem; it only creates another one. Convicted felons are being let out of jail on good behavior while free citizens are being punished for obeying the laws of the land.

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